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Please Leave Us Alone

August 24, 2017

Some colleagues from work and I recently went out for a few drinks last Friday at a local bar close to our office. We ordered a couple of beers and picked a table close to the door. After knocking back a beer or two we decided to sit outside on the patio to enjoy the summer weather. Conversation was bouncing back and forth between numerous topics when we were suddenly interrupted.

A man wearing a Marine Corp hat sitting by himself at an adjacent table leaned over and stated that he too liked “intelligence conversation” and pulled his chair up to our table. At first I didn’t know what to make of Adam as he introduced himself. I typically have a lot of respect for veterans and would probably have bought him a beer if things had gone differently.

There were several signs though that quickly made me realize that he was either completely drunk or “touched in the head.” After asking him if he served in the Marines, his answers were evasive at worst and nonsensical at best. I didn’t want to belabor the point, but he talked mostly about how he had hurt his hip falling down a fire escape and couldn’t give a clear answer as to where he had served or any other specifics about his time in the Marines.

Okay- I was willing to cut him some slack. Maybe he had been injured by an IED or had some other type of injury that he didn’t want to talk about. But there is a natural flow to conversation and certain rules that generally are followed when discussing topics or meeting strangers for the first time. Adam followed none of these.

First he would tell us some fact about himself like that he lived very close to the bar and that he walked over but it was difficult because of his hip injury. Then he would ask us if we knew where his apartment complex was. I actually used to live in the same complex years ago and told him that yes, in fact, I did know exactly where the apartments were.

Then he quickly segued into how he got arrested because he apparently had climbed the fence surrounding the apartment complex pool after hours and was caught by the police for trespassing. So there was that. What were we supposed to say? “Yeah, that was probably a bad idea?”

Then he started talking about another bar that was close to the apartment complex that he worked at. By this time, I began to realize that he was not even close to going back to his table. His words were slurred and he would go on long monologues about topics that my coworkers and I may or may not have been discussing. Mention any topic and he would begin talking and just not stop.

It was at this point, that I tried to extricate our little group.”Man, it’s pretty hot out here, you guys want to go inside?” I quickly indicated to my friends that I was going to head back into the bar. They followed my lead but so did our new “friend” as well. This was not going according to plan.

Don’t get me wrong. I am generally a pretty amiable guy but this was getting a little bit much. Adam followed me up to the bar as I ordered another round and then proceeded to sit down with us at our original table. I could tell that my coworkers were just as annoyed with Adam as I was but I couldn’t really think of a way to politely tell him to fuck off. The only respite from his constant talking was when I went to the bathroom and I am reasonably sure that given enough time, he would have followed me in there as well.

I imagine that this is probably a scenario that every female on the face of the planet deals with but I was at a loss as to how to proceed. I didn’t want to hear anymore about how he cheated at video games with mods or how he was underpaid at the bar he worked at and how he stole beers because they weren’t paying him enough.

Quickly after this, some of my coworkers started to leave. I took the cue and soon followed suit. Last I checked, Adam was out on the patio and had just pulled his chair up to a solitary woman smoking out on the patio. She rolled her eyes at us as we were leaving. I guess Adam was making another new friend.

After discussing the evening with my coworkers a few days later, none of us could really pinpoint what we could have done differently to rid ourselves of this hanger-on. And now I am pretty open to suggestions. How do you handle situations such as these when all you want to do is drink with your friends? I didn’t want to be a jerk and he wasn’t aggressive or anything, just extremely annoying.

So far the best suggestion I’ve heard is to just take turns buying him shots until he passes out. I guess that will be my game plan going forward. It might be expensive but it just might be worth it- to enjoy a drink or two with some friends in relative peace and have some actual “intelligence conversations.”

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